If you think the Yankee bullpen had been sharp this year, consider: The Yankees just dropped their first game of the season when trailing after six innings.
They fell 2-1 to the Mets, who, almost just as remarkably, have now tied the club record with five straight wins in their last at-bat at home (when they actually win, of course). That this one came against the Yankees was a surprise; largely because of their bullpen brilliance, the Yanks entered tonight 22-0 when leading after six.
David Robertson has been just about as responsible as the great Mariano Rivera for that late-game dominance. But he had no command, damning his own performance perhaps even more than necessary.
“I did a terrible job out there,” Robertson said. “I didn’t have any command of anything really. That was pretty much the downfall right there. I couldn’t throw a fastball where I wanted to and I kept falling behind in the count. I couldn’t throw a breaking ball for a strike. When you keep making mistakes like that against good teams, they make you pay for it.”
While the Mets may not be good, you get the point. Robertson allowed a double to Mike Baxter, walked the impatient Jordany Valdespin and surrendered the winning single to Daniel Murphy. He also nearly hit David Wright in the head with a curve ball.
It was just Robertson’s second blown save all season. The other came Apr. 20 at Toronto.
Here’s more from Robertson:
• It’s sometimes hard in the wake of a tough loss for athletes to balance their disappointment with their delight at one achievement or another. That was the case with Brett Gardner’s grand larceny of Murphy in the sixth. The center fielder reached over the wall to snare Murphy’s potential go-ahead two-run homer to end the inning.
Phil Hughes had three balls nearly carry out of cavernous Citi Field before David Wright’s no-doubter in the seventh tied it 1-1. But Gardner just considered his highlight-reel grab payback for when he crashed into the wall on Wright’s triple to right-center in the first.
“I felt like I got him back for messing up earlier in the game,” he said.
Gardner said he was OK after the collision. He crashed into a padded post on the open fencing and thought it helped soften the blow.
Here’s more from Gardner, including a not-so-subtle dig at his height:
• Although a little lucky he was in Queens instead of the Bronx, Hughes was solid. He threw six scoreless before allowing the Wright homer and finished having thrown seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball without issuing a walk.
He said the pitch to Murphy in the sixth was a bad changeup. He thought the ball was gone based on Murphy’s reaction and Gardner’s effort just to track it. He said he tried to pitch Wright inside in the seventh after getting him to ground out earlier in the game.
Wright fouled off four pitches in the at-bat before homering with two strikes. It was the 11th allowed this year by Hughes, tying him with CC Sabathia and a host of others for the second-most in the AL.
“It’s tough,” Hughes said. “He’s not a guy who’s easy to strikeout. He fouled off a couple pretty good pitches. I decided that going in right there might be a good option and just left it out over the plate.”
More from Hughes:
• Murphy — one of those hitters who punishes himself to get better — stomped in frustration after Gardner robbed him in the sixth. He later spiked his bat in celebration upon lining the winning hit to center in the eighth.
Joe Girardi had no qualms with Murphy’s exuberance.
“I don’t have an issue,” Girardi said. “It’s an emotional game. Some guys are going to show more emotion outwardly than other guys. I only have a problem if I feel a guy’s doing it to show up another guy and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.”
• As for Girardi, there wasn’t much to debate with him afterward. He may have had a spot or two for Travis Hafner earlier, but the slugger was up with Ichiro Suzuki on base down a run in the ninth. Bobby Parnell got Hafner to pop out to end it, but Girardi was asked why Ichiro didn’t attempt to steal with either Lyle Overbay or Hafner at the plate to put him in position to score on a single.
“He kept changing his looks. He kept changing his times,” Girardi said of Parnell. “He was pretty quick most of the time. I think it’s a pretty big risk with Hafner up.”
• The brain lock of the night belonged to Chris Stewart, who simply dropped Robertson’s pitch to Ruben Tejada with one out in the eighth. It could’ve proven an awful time to lose focus. Mets’ runners moved to second and third with one out, but Robinson Cano helped bail Stewart out when he threw home on Tejada’s grounder and Stewart tagged out lead runner Mike Baxter.
I asked Stewart if he and Robertson were crossed up. Like Robertson, he did not pass the blame.
“I botched it somehow,” Stewart said. “I’ve caught that same pitch 1,000 times and never had a problem with it. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I just took my eye off of it at the last second or what, but it hit off my glove and got by me.”
• Vernon Wells snapped a 0-for-17 skid. Good timing, because…
• The attendance was 32,911. ESPNNY’s Adam Rubin reported that it was the lowest attendance in Subway Series history.
• The Yankees face Matt Harvey tomorrow night. Even after a relatively rough outing vs. the Reds (4 ER on 9 H, 3 BB in 6.1 IP), Harvey leads baseball in WHIP (0.83) and opponent batting average (.169).
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